Mommy Villainess Chapter 49
49 Let The Hunt Begin
TILLY wanted to concentrate on Emperor Aku's noble speech about protecting the citizens through the Clean-up Hunt. But she couldn't help but stare at Princess Nia.
[Gosh, she's really a certified fashion icon.]
Princess Nia wore a red custom-made suit with chic gold capelet. For her footwear, the princess chose pointy-two T-strap heels with gold accent. For the first time in a while, the princess tied her silver hair in a braided bun instead of letting it flow down her back.
[The princess looks so expensive.]
Tilly wasn't the only one who thought that way. Even though no one would dare talk while the emperor was talking, she could see the look of envy that the ladies were throwing at the princess. Maybe they were thinking how could an outfit "for men" look good on a woman?
[In the modern world I lived in, it's common for women to wear pants. Even in other parts of this empire, women are also starting to wear trousers. After the light dresses, I'm sure women's pants are going to be the next trend.]
She couldn't wait to capitalize on that.
Anyway, right now, they were in front of Castle Vania. It was the fortress that kept the Crades hiding in the Forest of Enryu from attacking humans. While the hunters do their job, the emperor and the princess, along with the ladies waiting for their partners, would be waiting inside Castle Vania.
Currently, a makeshift stage was built in front of the giant gate for the emperor's speech. Behind His Majesty was Princess Nia who was sitting on her throne with a calm and elegant look on her beautiful face.
[The twin royals are really the elite among the elites.]
"So without further ado" Emperor Aku said. He looked so majestic in his maroon custom-made three-piece suit with gold accent. Anyway, he raised the pistol in his right hand. "Let the Hunt begin!"
And then, His Majesty fired the gun.
Tilly didn't hear the shot as loud as she expected because a pair of cold hands covered her ears. Even though Kiho was wearing gloves, she still felt the temperature of his cold body. Anyway, she smiled at his thoughtfulness. "Honey, I'm fine. You should raise your weapon like the others."
The other Hunters around them were raising their weapon of choice.
"Oh," Kiho said. "Right."
When she turned to him, she saw him raise his rifle with his right hand. She was surprised to see that the gun was his main weapon for today and not his sword. "Hon, why a rifle instead of your sword?"
"This is Duke Prescott's personal request," Kiho told her. "His Grace wants me to win the Hunt using a rifle."
Tilly let out a sigh while shaking her head. "My father could be an oddball sometimes."
"HON, be careful," Tilly told Kiho while they were at the entrance of Castle Vania just like the other couples who were bidding each other a tearful farewell. "Please don't take this the wrong way but if the situation gets dangerous, forget about winning and just give up. I'd rather you make it out alive in one piece than emerge a victor with some heavy injuries."
"I understand that you're worried about me, Tilly," Kiho said gently. "But don't worry, I won't die here. Especially not when we haven't met our child yet."
She smiled at that. "Yes, you can't die before that."
He nodded before he cleared his throat and changed the subject. "Honey, don't you have something to give to me before I leave?"
She pouted because if there was one thing she wasn't good at, then it would be embroidery.
In the Moonchester Empire, it was a tradition for a lady to give her lover a handkerchief with handmade embroidery as a sign of good luck.
"I'm not confident about my embroidery skills so please don't complain," Tilly said while pulling out a white handkerchief from the inside pocket of her jacket. Then, she handed it to him. "Remember, it's the thought that counts."
The captain stared at the embroidery of the white hankie.
She couldn't stitch a blue mockingbird (House Prescott's crest) or a black serpent (Kiho's squad symbol). So she did the simplest thing she could stitch: a cute "chibi" crab.
Kiho, much to her shock, laughed heartily.
She wasn't the only who was surprised by the captain's reaction. Everyone who heard and saw him laughing was obviously shocked.
[See? My Captain isn't scary!]
"I love it," Kiho said sincerely. He already stopped laughing but his full smile and his dimples told her that he was really happy. "Thank you, Tilly."
"You're welcome, hon."
The captain then got down on one knee. Then, he held her hand and kissed her knuckles. It was the kind of vow that a knight would bestow his lover before the Hunt. That vow meant that he would offer his victory to her.
"I'll pray for your safety, Kiho," Tilly said sincerely. "Have a safe Hunt."
Kiho nodded. Then he stood up, cupped her face between his hands, and kissed her on the lips. "I'll return safely back to you, Tilly."
Kissing on the lips wasn't part of the vow
and they sure made every couple around them jealous.
[Sorry not sorry, folks.]
"YOU'RE using a rifle, Captain Kiho?"
"Yes," Kiho answered Captain Sherwood's question.
Right now, they were walking inside the deepest part of Forest of Enryu where the wildest Crades dwelled.
Even though they were both competing for the Hunt, as captains, they should first fulfill their duty. It meant that before they chase the Red Phoenix, they had to slay as many flesh-eating monsters as they could first.
Most of the competitors for the Hunt were noblemen. As he and Captain Sherwood were both captains, they had to make sure that the most dangerous Crades wouldn't reach the nobles.
Only then they could chase the Red Phoenix.
To be honest, until now, he was still surprised by the chosen ancient beast for this year.
[I'm glad that Duke Prescott taught me how to catch the legendary flaming bird.]
"You look calm, Captain Kiho," Captain Sherwood commented. "Most of the Hunters have quit when they found out that the chosen ancient beast this year is the Red Phoenix."
He didn't respond to that because he didn't really like talking to other people.
[Tilly is the only person in the world that I enjoy talking to.]
"Your calmness makes me think that you know a method to catch the Red Phoenix," Captain Sherwood continued. "What a co-incidence. I also know how to capture the sky beast."
Okay, that caught his attention.
But suddenly, two Crades from either of their side attacked them. The flesh-eating monsters took the shape of a grizzly bear. Only it was twice the average's bear's size. And the Crades had longer and sharper fangs enough to crush human bones in one bite.
They were big but weak though.
Both him and the other captain didn't even need to use a weapon.
The Crades in Kiho's side literally froze in mid-air when he enclosed it in a giant cube ice.
On the other hand, the Crades in Captain Sherwood's side was neatly cut up in many pieces. He did that using his ability to make the air around him sharp and fast enough to slice enemies people and monsters alike.
Before the green blood of the Crades splash on them, Kiho put up a thin layer of ice as his shield. He didn't want to return to Tilly covered in blood.
But Captain Sherwood was different. Even though he was capable of avoiding the blood, he stood still and let the green blood rain on him. In fact, it looked like the other captain reveled in the feeling of being covered in blood.
[What a scary fellow.]
"Captain Kiho, let's have a fun game," Captain Sherwood with a smile and a frenzied look in his ash gray eyes. "Let's see which one of us could win without losing something important."
And after saying that, Captain Sherwood suddenly shot up into the sky.
Kiho suddenly felt nervous. The first thing that came into his mind was Tilly's smiling face. But he shouldn't worry, right? After all, his wife was in the castle where Emperor Aku and Princess Nia were staying as well.
[Please wait for me, Tilly.]
TILLY felt awkward while on the rooftop of Castle Vania along with the other ladies. And she wasn't the only one who felt that way.
[And it's His Majesty's fault.]
Emperor Aku fell in a sour mood after Captain Sherwood made a vow to Princess Nia.
As far as Tilly remembered, in her past life, Her Royal Highness had never attended the Hunt because the emperor forbade her.
But this year, Princess Nia was required by the advisors and the ministers to attend the Hunt with Emperor Aku. The citizens were losing faith to the twin royals because of their super long engagement. Plus, the princess was turning thirty soon and she hadn't gotten pregnant yet. In short, the people were worrying about the royal family's future.
Rumors about the emperor and the princess's estranged relationship started to spread. So to recover their image and put the citizens at ease, their advisors asked them to show up in public events more often.
[But Emperor Aku throwing tantrums out of jealousy will only make the rumors worse.]
Gosh, the emperor was really a man-child.
Thanks to the twin royals' "silent war," no one enjoyed the moment that Emperor Aku opened the "mystery white box." When the lid was opened, a beautiful trail of red light scattered in the air until it disappeared.
That meant that for today's Hunt, the Red Phoenix was the chosen ancient beast.
And that made Tilly nervous.
[In my past life, it was the Golden Tiger that was released and not the Red Phoenix.]
To be honest, it was the first time in history that it happened.
[Gosh, isn't that an omen? I hope Kiho comes back safely.]
After the emperor released the ancient beast, Princess Nia went back inside the palace with her royal guards. Emperor Aku could only watch the princess with sad eyes.
[Tsk. Their LQ is making everyone uncomfortable.]
Tilly was about to go back inside the castle to have tea but stopped when Lahara, the princess's personal knight, literally blocked her way. She had a bad feeling about Lahara but she couldn't help but get mesmerized by her beauty.
[Lahara is the type of girl that people can also call "handsome."]
In short, Lahara had the "girl crush" concept.
[But she's bad news so I have to be super careful.]
"Lady Prescott, pardon me but Her Royal Highness Princess Nia wants to talk to you in private," Lahara said with a smile. "Please follow me."
Tilly raised her eyebrow. "And what if I refuse?"
"Don't misunderstand, Lady Prescott," the mage-knight warned her lightly. "It's not a request it's an order."
After that, Lahara's orange eyes started to glow.
Then, Tilly felt her body freeze. The next thing she knew, she was already walking back inside the castle against her will. She wanted to stop but her body won't listen to her.
That could only mean one thing.
[This is mind control!]
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